I love learning about myself. There was a period of time where I obsessively answered random questions on the cheesy site Quizilla (think: “What kind of mermaid flower fairy are you?” and “What kind of shape are you?”). I love all these silly and fun personality inventories/quizzes and find that they often provide a little bit of insight into my personality that is fun or quirky.
One of the personality inventories that I have enjoyed learning about, is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It’s a pretty common one used in classroom settings, and is actually something that I am using with my students this quarter! There are 16 distinct “types” of personalities, though of course it is important to remember that each of the types are on a continuum, and don’t always apply. They types can be found at the MBTI website (and other places online, too). While I won’t get into the description of all of them, I recently re-took the quiz to see if my type had changed much since graduate school, and found that, no, in fact, I was still an INFJ.
An INFJ can be characterized as:
Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions.
Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others.
Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about
how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their
In another description, an INFJ is:
Quietly forceful, original, and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they
are done. Extremely intuitive about people, and concerned for their feelings.
Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for
their perserverence in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic,
rather than leading or following.
Whenever my type is linked to career, the encouragement to be a: teacher, counselor, psychologist, or writer always comes up. Hmm, funny that that’s in the field that I am!
But, all this talk of personality got me thinking about my personality as a mother and not as an individual or a worker. MUCH TO MY SURPRISE I answered the questions on this site and found that my mother-style is an ENFP:
Your type is: enfp —The “Kids R Fun” Mother
“Whatever I enjoy—playing tag or singing in the car—I can do it with kids around. And it’s totally legitimate!”
- Playful and energetic, the ENFP mother finds her children to be good company and enjoys being with them. In fact, she says being with children justifies her own “being a kid again.” And children say she’s fun to be with — spontaneous, hearty, and imaginative.
- Naturally drawn to introducing her children to the joys of life, the ENFP is something of a free spirit. She is less concerned with rules, routines, and schedules, and more inclined to give her children plenty of free time to play, explore on their own or with her, and have fun together.
- Tuned in to her children, the ENFP mother enthusiastically encourages each one’s individuality and unique potential through a great variety of experiences. She is also quick to identify with others’ feelings and thoughts, making her an empathetic supporter of her children, not to mention her mate and many, many friends.
Whoa! I was totally not prepared for that descriptions, however, at least with a 9 month old Potamus, I would have to say it fits me pretty well! Now, because I was curious, I “cheated” and answered the questions in a way that I knew would get me an INFJ answer, which also fit me pretty well, but what I liked about this whole experience was that I was surprised about new parts of myself. I have so long thought of myself as one type and found that perhaps things have changed inside myself or how I relate to being a mother or a teacher and THAT IS OKAY!
So tell me, do you know your type? What is it? How does it inform your parenting, and has it changed over your lifetime?